Are Your Team Members Operating in an Information Vacuum?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Have you detected trouble on your team lately? Are people arguing instead of focusing on work? The root of the problem may be that your people are operating in an information vacuum.

In a recent post, Tanveer Naseer describes the importance of maintaining cohesive teams, especially during a period when our country is experiencing a high degree of divisiveness. Often, divisiveness and arguing arises because people don’t take the time to understand each other. Your employees may not be on the same page politically or culturally, but you can help them pull together and devote their energies to work projects using the following suggestions.

Team Member Feedback

One way to strengthen the bonds between team members is encourage them to share feedback. Call a meeting and ask people to publicly state one detail they appreciate about each individual they work most closely with. Then, ask them to share one work area that could use improvement. For example, Chris might love Jim’s blog writing style. She can also suggest that he get his writing finished by 4:00 each day so she can spend sufficient time reviewing his work for needed edits.

As the team leader, not every suggestion about workflow and work habits needs to come from you. Team members will appreciate feedback from their co-​workers and feel their contributions matter.

Allow your team members, in an environment where they feel supported, to discuss each other’s performance. Be ready to step in if you sense the conversation is growing tense. Shift the discussion to positive changes in the work process and away from personal attacks.

Sharing Information

Nothing causes team trust to disintegrate faster than the appearance of special treatment for a select few individuals. People notice when someone gets access to information before everyone else. That individual’s status has immediately increased. As a result, everyone else will probably gossip about her. The best way to head off this kind of demoralizing situation is to share information freely and quickly. You may prefer to hold weekly or monthly staff meetings to keep your team members up to date. In a fast-​moving environment, and during periods of big changes, do what’s best for your team members. Hold a five or ten minute briefing session every morning to let people know what is going on.

When your team members have access to all the information that’s available – from each other and from management, they’ll be motivated to work harder and they’ll want to “succeed and grow, both collectively and individually.”